My very first date with my now boyfriend, Tyler, took place completely by happenstance in August of 2016 when I posted a poor quality video of myself kneeboarding on Facebook. It prompted him, being an avid kneeboarder, to respond with an offer to improve my skills under his expertise at his family’s cabin on Lake Geneva. While the kneeboarding lesson was more or less a success, it was the beauty of Lake Geneva and the charm of its surrounding cities and festivals that ultimately made me grow to love this part of Wisconsin and return every year!
Almost two years into our relationship, Lake Geneva’s Venetian Festival, as well as neighboring Williams Bay’s Corn and Brat Fest, remain two highlights in our summer calendar. If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Geneva this summer, I invite you to visit Walworth County and enjoy all of the fun activities these exciting events have to offer. If you only have a short time to visit, this guide to spending 12 hours in Lake Geneva will help you make the most of your trip.
As a vegetarian, I love this event on the second weekend in August for the same reason I love State Fair: corn! Or, more importantly, that not only is there a vegetarian option available, but also that I won’t be eating it alone. As a German-American, I used to love a good brat and appreciate events that pay homage to Wisconsin’s German heritage (did you know that Wisconsin’s oldest German settlement is just minutes from Milwaukee?). In addition to the variety of food and drink options, local bands take the stage every night and create an upbeat, energetic contrast to the usually quiet town.
William’s Bay, located on the northern shoreline of Lake Geneva, has a multitude of small shops, cute local eateries, and a great sense of community. Edgewater Park, where the festival takes place, is juxtaposed by downtown William’s Bay on one side and beautiful shoreline on the other. It is also a short walk away from the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, which is a nature walk I cannot recommend enough! On a warm summer day it feels like you are in the Everglades – minus the sawgrass and plus a wide walking bridge – making it great for both avid hikers and casual strollers.
If your favorite types of vacations are more about finding fun things to do than doing nothing, you are exactly like me and will love Lake Geneva’s Venetian Festival, held on the third weekend in August. There is a lot to see and do at this event, in addition to the fact that the city itself always provides for scenic walks, great shopping, and quality dining.
Some of the weekend’s festivities include a carnival, arts and craft fair, and musical entertainment. The major events all take place on Sunday and include a water ski show from the Wonder Lake Ski Team (my personal favorite, but I’m biased), the famous Venetian boat parade, and a fireworks display to end the weekend!